One of the things that is weird about Toronto is that there are no London Drugs stores. A result of this seems to be that there’s a Shoppers Drug Mart on every third block, at least downtown.
Inside many (if not all) of these fine pharmaceutical outlets is a cash machine for my bank and a stub of a Canada Post.
Despite this reality, there seems to be an actual branch of my bank strategically placed between the Shoppers. The’ve divvied up the city. The branches have bigger cash machines with more exciting menu options, and seem incredibly under-used. Every time I’ve gone into one–moving makes you bank a lot–the receptionist has swooped in on me like a hungry grizzly hittin’ the salmon run hard, cheerfully determined that Holy shit, this client came in here to utilize one of our services! and then helped me to find a wildly bored bank teller, cunningly concealed behind what passes for a wicket these days, usually within spitting distance and clear sight of the main doors.
It’s perhaps worth noting that I’ve been successfully finding bank tellers in their natural habitat since the Seventies without the assistance of wild-eyed chirpy twenty-somethings. I really hope it’s worth noting, anyway, because I actually couldn’t help saying so the second time it happened.
What’s really weird or perhaps comical about this situation, though, is that even though there are at least twenty-five Shoppers within an hour’s walk of my apartment (I didn’t count the bank branches) and even though I walk past at least two of them every single effing day no matter where I’m going, I am wildly excited that there’s going to be one opening on the ground floor of my shiny new still-under-construction condo building. Every day I attempt to peer through the paper on its windows and guess how much longer!
I actually dreamed somebody told me it wouldn’t open until October, and I was angry to hear it. Pissed off, argumentative angry. “That’s a lie! They’re stocking now!”
I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because the presence of a pharmacy in a Shoppers doesn’t change the fact that what it really is is a high-end convenience store. Of course I want a postal outlet directly underfoot. A bank machine? Sure! Why should I have to walk 250 meters to get money? They also have overpriced milk, and greeting cards, and umbrellas and the mittens I keep losing, and gift cards for major e-commerce sites, and lipstick, and one of the frozen entrees Kelly takes to work.
If it’s convenience they’re selling, this insanity makes sense. Because the closer they are, the more convenience I’m getting, right?
It’s either that or maybe they shoot “Love Us and Spend Money Here, Alyx,” mind-control high-beams out of their illuminated signs.